Ever wanted to play a video game where you and seven friends control the legs of an octopus? How about where you play as a pigeon and fly from building to building, convincing businessmen not to jump to their deaths? How about a game where the “pause” button is your only weapon?
Now, thanks to last weekend’s “What Would Molydeux?” game jam, you can play those games and hundreds more.
What began as a tossed-off Twitter joke exploded into a bit of a global phenomenon as hundreds of game developers worldwide pooled their talents in a nigh-unprecedented embrace of ridiculousness.
The idea was simple: Get together and spend 48 hours taking the goofy tweets of “Peter Molydeux”, a parody of the famous game developer Peter Molyneux, and make those concepts into real game prototypes.
By any reckoning, the event was a success — livestreams ran from gatherings all around the world, and the real Peter Molyneux himself showed up at the event in Brighton. So sure, the events were popular and well-attended. But what of the games?
At the end of the weekend, each team presented their finished project. I attended the presentations at the San Francisco event, which was surely one of the most well-attended of the many locations where the game jam took place.
There was a goofy, up-for-anything vibe in the air; we were in a hot, crowded conference room in the CBS Interactive offices in downtown San Francisco. The room was buzzing with the exhausted camaraderie of the last day of camp; all of the inside-jokes and memories of the weekend were being hashed and re-hashed, committed to memory before the night ends and everyone must go their separate ways.
The presentations themselves were a lot of fun. Teams would go up to the front of the room and read the Peter Molydeux tweet that had inspired their game, then demo their game. Not a single one escaped some sort of technical glitch or other, but overcoming those roadbumps was part of the fun. A game would boot up and then crash, boot and then crash, as the room waited quietly for the game to begin. And then — success! The game would work, and would be by enthusiastic (and relieved) applause.
The many worldwide events yielded more games than any one person could hope to play in a single day — fortunately, event organisers Anna Kipnis, Patrick Klepek and Chris Remo have been diligently >collecting all of the games into a massive list of downloadable games on the “What Would Molydeux” official page. The page is just shy of 250 games now, and there are doubtless plenty more on the way.
Videos of the presentations will also be available through the page – they streamed live on Twitch.tv and will eventually be organised and archived on that site, though the videos aren’t up yet.
If you’re curious about what kinds of games the attendees came up with, each one is but a click and a download away.
Of the games I saw, I enjoyed Coo, a game about a bird that tries to keep businessmen from jumping off of buildings (this was a popular tweet). In the end of the game (spoiler alert!) Peter Molyneux himself turns up, standing at the brink, fed up with the state of modern video games.
Recidivism was another highlight, a game where the death animation of every person you kill echoes on the screen until there are so many deaths happening that you can’t see where you’re going.
The game I’d be most likely to actually play would probably be Breaktris, a two-player game that pitted a Breakout player against a Tetris player. Every completed line in the Tetris game resulted in a new line in the Breakout game, but the Breakout player could launch his ball into the Tetris game, causing all manner of havoc. I don’t see that one on the site yet, but I’m sure it’ll be up soon.
There are many, many, (many!) more games on the site for you to check out; go through ’em and read their descriptions to see which ones you want to play.
This illustration by Kari Clark captured the many memes, jokes, and goofy distractions of the weekend at SF Molyjam.
What Would Molydeux Archive [Official Page]